James Harden made some late-night headlines on Tuesday, declaring in the wake of a second consecutive blowout loss to the Lakers that he feels the Rockets are “just not good enough” and that he doesn’t believe the situation in Houston can be fixed.
Harden’s comments represent an escalation in his efforts to force his way out of Houston, but the Rockets’ front office has remained determined to have its asking price met, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who reiterates that the team is seeking a young franchise cornerstone, along with a collection of draft picks and/or young talent.
A source close to the situation tells MacMahon that the Rockets have had active trade talks with “more than a half dozen teams” and have kept in touch with Harden about those options. The former MVP has continually received assurances from team owner Tilman Fertitta that he’ll be traded, per ESPN, but it seems those assurances haven’t included a specific timeline — and Harden seems to be losing patience.
Here’s more on the situation:
- Harden’s desire for a trade was reinforced following Sunday’s blowout loss to the Lakers, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says the 31-year-old is eager to maximize his window to contend for a championship and no longer believes that can happen with the Rockets.
- While Harden has expanded his list of preferred landing spots, sources tell Iko that the Nets remain atop that list. The general belief has been that Brooklyn would offer a package headed by Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, but one league executive who spoke to Joe Vardon of The Athletic on Tuesday believes that if a trade between the Nets and Rockets happens, it would have to be centered around Kyrie Irving.
- Tuesday’s performances from Tyler Herro (34 points), Duncan Robinson (26 points), and Precious Achiuwa (17 points and 13 rebounds) helped reaffirm why the Heat are unwilling to send all their talented young players to Houston in a package for Harden, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson recently reported that Miami is open to offering “a couple” of their young players and a future first-round pick for Harden, but the Rockets want significantly more than that.